Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Bo Bama, fee fy fo fama, me my mo mama! Hey hey!

The ObamaBiden ticket...

Apparently it has a ring to it!

And I'm a poet, and didn't even know it.

Here's hoping the world is a better, happier place with this news!

Yesterday (read George 'W') is history...
Tomorrow's a mystery...
Today is the present...a gift from God.


अ न्यू वर्ल्ड

फ ला ला ला ला , ला ला ला ला।

तिस थे सीज़न तो बे जोल्ली, फ ला ला ला ला, ला ला ला ला.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Can I make you laugh?

At 6'6", 220 pounds, I'd make a really ugly woman and a pretty horrible kilt-wearing Scottsman, too.

Despite that reality, I seem to have a bit of a Scottish flare to me after all: go up to the YouTube box above and type in "W Network Expert" to see what I mean.

I hope you enjoy it.

The Happy SCOTTISH Blogger

Saturday, November 1, 2008

What makes you happy?

In my book, The Core of Happiness, I've suggested that there are really two kinds of happiness.

One is content-based happiness. This is the stuff that society is obsessed with. This is literally the "stuff" in our lives or the "stuff" we hope to have in our lives. In our commercial world, we are inundated with news of all the new things that the marketers and merchants have to sell us. And, of course, the idea is that these things are going to make our life better...more happy, right?

The other type of happiness is process-based happiness. This comes with living life happily. We know we have achieved this ultimate level of happiness we we can actually sit back and enjoy the scenery on a detoured roadway. Much more on this in future blogs.

Despite the great emphasis on content-based happiness, I think that process-based happiness is actually responsible for 90% or more of people's enduring happiness.

Ever watch a three-year old child open a birthday or Christmas gift? They typically spend thirty seconds looking at the toy, then spend the next long while playing with the destroyed wrapping paper and the gift box. We adults are not too much different: we get bored easily. And, as a result, many get into the habit of chasing hedonic feelings by becoming serial shopaholics.

But being a shopaholic doesn't improve one's lot in life and it doesn't improve one's happiness. Study after study has shown this. And if that's not enough, plus it's rather expensive.

All this begs a question. What things did you seek that you thought were going to make you happy, but they ultimately did not? I'd love for you to share your stories.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Did you know children laugh about 5000 times per DAY?

Guess how many times you laughed so far today?  Probably much, much less than that!

THE CURE? In the YouTube search above, type in: Elevator Psychology.

Then go ahead, laugh!

Saturday, September 6, 2008


"I love the smell of freshly sharpened pencils in the Fall," Tom Hanks said to Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail.  (If you haven't seen the movie, watch it–you'll enjoy it!) Fall is also a wonderful time to visit New York City, too. But it's not Fall yet is it! Just because the calendar shows September, we can't abandon Summer yet!

Well, the last vestiges of summer remain, but let's not let a moment pass without enjoying it! Soon will come the effects of cooler temperatures: autumn-shades of burnt orange, magnificent reds...

Three months to Christmas?!

Four months to 2009?!

Yikes, time flies! Or tempus fugit, as the Romans said.

"Tempus grabbit" isn't a real latin phrase, but the sentiment is nonetheless valid: Seize the moment, one moment at a time, and practice the habit of appreciation every moment you can....

Friday, August 22, 2008

Thoughts on Thoughts

Some people are shocked when I ask them this question: "Do you control your mind, or does your mind control you?"

Sure, one can argue that, truthfully, there are many times when thoughts just "pop" into our conscious minds for who-knows-what reason. Welcome to being human!

And some of these thoughts can be upsetting, disturbing, or otherwise challenging to our personal code of ethics. But there is great news!

The great news is that we have the power to change our thoughts! Easier said than done, particularly when a certain life event has our life turned upside down. Losing a job, a death in the family, a new diagnosis, a fire, discovery that a spouse has been cheating...all these things create huge waves of emotion. Try as we might, negative thoughts in these situations continue to pop into our thoughts, time after time. And nothing seems to help.

"Time heals all," or so the saying goes.

But of course time heals nothing! It's what we do with time that is the healing! My point: let's reduce the amount of time of suffering by focusing on what we need to. This is not to suggest that grieving is not appropriate; indeed, one can't truly appreciate the heights of happiness without having sampled the depths of difficulties and sorrow. So we all need a certain amount of time to process major life events; more often than not, talking things out is very, very helpful. Another very helpful adjunct is to write out our thoughts and feelings.

Talking and writing, on one level, accomplish the same thing. And it is not just the idea about venting. Talking and writing also share the important characteristic of necessarily having the speaker/writer systematically organize his or her thoughts. Such organization leads to greater ability to be logical.

And logical is good. Logical is what gets us from point A to point B.

For the record, Emotional is good too. Even better, in fact. Because what we feel we feel on an emotional level. But emotions tend to make poor arbiters of choice. More on this soon.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Misty water coloured memories...

Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to see when you've got Niagara Falls in your eyes?  

I remember as a kid being on Maid of the Mist. Ok, all I really remember is getting sloppy wet and having a blast doing it. Thinking back, it really was the ultimate form of jumping in a puddle! Then there's the shared experience that comes only with certain situations. Ever imagine what the first fella of capitalism was thinkin?  "Let's get a butt-ugly tug boat, cram it full of thrill-seeking tourists, and drive the sucker up to the bottom of the Niagara Falls!"

Then there's the whole Clifton Hill experience, what with the wax museums and scary monster chiller horror houses of horror!

Let's not even talk about roller coasters!

Seems like we humans are perfectly willing to part with our hard-earned dollars to introduce specific emotions-- like stain-your-underpants horror! --often exactly the kinds of emotions we spend the better part of our days otherwise avoiding!  Sheesh! What are we thinking!

It all just gets me thinking: Epictetus really was right! It isn't so much what has happened to us, rather more how we interpret what's happened to us. So as we're approaching the bottom of the falls, as we're racing on a roller coaster... we're really very aware that this is a time-limited exposure to something we otherwise wouldn't want to be experiencing, say, in our cars...

Learning that we have the power to control our emotions is the serious message in all this. Part of the "trick", if you will, is to be able to tell ourselves that, in fact, these emotions - no matter how bad they feel right now - they too will come to an end at some point... just like the roller coaster.

How wonderful to be able to control our emotions in this kind of way. More on this in the future.

For now, just a final thought. There are only two good reasons to look back in life: one is to relish the memories (... to smile, to laugh, to induce that warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with cherished pictures, for instance) and the second is to learn from the past. That's it. Every other reason isn't likely a good one.

Happy memories to you all!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The weather

In life there are things we can and things we cannot control.

One of the things we can't control is the weather.  Yet have you ever spent time worrying about the weather?  Most people have worried to some degree.  And usually it's in the context of some or another event: a wedding, a barbeque, or perhaps a sports event.

But what good comes from this type of worry? Nada. Zilch. Zero. Nothing good comes from it.

So is there anything we can learn from this? Always consider the things you can control and do your best to focus on making these circumstances as good as can be.

As a bride, plan on taking pictures at the park but be prepared to settle into the studio if lady luck showers you with rain. In the meantime, don't turn into Bridezilla about the weather...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Heaven welcomes Randy!

Today the world lost an amazing thinker, researcher, and teacher. More than that, three little, wonderful little kids lost there Dad, and those wonderful kids' Mom lost her husband...

For those of you whose lives have not been touched by the public struggle of Randy Pausch and his valiant battle with cancer... please do yourself a favor: go to and watch the entire "Last Lecture," Randy's story about Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.  This hour will undoubtedly change your life!

Randy's spirit and legacy will live on in his book, The Last Lecture, and in the inspiration of all those who, like me, have come to feel connected with his incredible attitude.

"You can't change the cards you're dealt... only the way you play your hand."

Here's to a man who happily played his cards to the fullest... and here's to the hope that all of us needn't wait to be diagnosed with a fatal illness to learn that we, too, can make the most of life ... one moment at a time...

Friday, July 18, 2008

If only...

Did you ever notice that some folks run their lives on the "if only" or "what if" basis? If only I could win the lottery... then I'd be happy. If only I could get marry and have kids, then I'd be happy. Or later, what if the kids moved out and I got divorced, then I'd be happy.

Truthfully, we have to decide that there is no better time to be happy than NOW!

So adapt the attitude of happiness. Be grateful for what you have NOW. Avoid excessively thinking about what you don't have or what you want.

You'll be much happier as you adapt to this way of thinking!

Not convinced? Try it for a while and let me know....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I think I can...

Ah, the power of possibility!

To "think I can" is to view one's place in life as a forward moving, progressively thinking phenomenon.

The moment we allow our minds to focus on the doubt, the fear, the uncertainty... this is the moment the fat lady sings -- because at that instant it's game over.

A road trip is a good analogy, it seems to me.  To get anywhere, one must get out the map and find the YOU ARE HERE spot. Then there's the step of determining where you want to go... because if you have nowhere you want to go, that's exactly where you are going to end up: NOWHERE!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Happy Thursday

If the week had the equivalent of the well-described "middle child syndrome", Thursday would undoubtedly get the title.

How sad, really.  Because if you think about it, Thursdays represent one seventh (or virtually 15%) of our lives!  Thursdays are not a day "just to survive."  Thursdays are like any other day when we have learned to live in the moment: Thursday is the PRESENT, the gift, that cherished piece of time never to be had again.

So always practice living in the moment, whether it it's Thursday morning or Sunday evening. Enjoy the moment for whatever positive thing it brings. Not possible? Sure it is! You just have to remember that you have this choice: I can focus on the blatant negatives in my world or I can find the positive aspects in my world. This is a choice we all have at all times. And clearly sometimes the choice is easier-- when we are enjoying the game, the party, or the praise of a situation.  It's much more of a challenge when it comes to the everyday ho-hum of traffic jams, incessant phone calls, irritating demands, and so on.  But, for the sake of your happiness, take responsibility for your choice in the knowledge that focusing on negativity will unquestionably lead to negative feelings. 

And take it from Happy, The Blogger: once you choose to find and focus on the good things about cloudy days, good things about rain, etc., etc., you will be able to choose to find happiness in every moment and literally feel the glow of the sunshine within.

Does this sound too good to be true? Does this sound like the effects of some illicit substance?  Hardly! I invite you to stay tuned and to keep reading...

Oh, and Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby Angels!

On July 9th, 2001...

Richard Ceolin Wietfeldt
Mary Therese Rose Ceolin Wietfeldt
Lucas Ceolin Wietfeldt
Josef Ceolin Wietfeldt...

You gently tiptoed into the world
and though you only stayed for a short while
what an imprint
you have forever left on our hearts.

We love you, Baby Angels!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Happy Sunday!

Balance.  We hear about it all the time.  People refer to it universally as an understood truth, that ideal that intersects garden salad and strawberry cheesecake.

The sad part is that most of us don't have it and don't even have plans to learn how to get it!

Modern day life is a treadmill of sorts: Work, Eat, Sleep... Work, Eat, Sleep...  Perhaps this is why we call it the rat race. ('Hamster race' just doesn't carry the joy of the alliteration of the two r's!)

Ironic in a way, isn't it?  Neanderthal Man worked about 24 hours a week.  And wasn't the whole point of mechanization and technology to make life easier?


Don't get me wrong: I'm not suggesting we all move to the hills and live a cottage-industry existence... But I am suggesting we pause a moment every once in a while - Sunday being perhaps a very good day to do so - and consider what really matters in this life.

Do we have to survive a bout with cancer to learn that life - our life! - is precious?

Yes, there are bills to pay and therefore work to be done.  Let's all choose our expenses wisely so we don't have to work so hard.  Let's all choose to use our time wisely -- according to our own value system, not to what advertising is dictating...

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, Pier Giorgio!

In life we are blessed, truly blessed, with only a handful of people we can wholeheartedly call our dear friends.

My family and I are indeed truly blessed to know and love Pier Giorgio DiCicco, poet laureate of Toronto.

A warm inviting smile, eyes that twinkle as if Irish, a hilarious sense of humor, a speaking and singing voice to die for, an intellect that should have been housed by a university, not simply an individual...

For all you do everyday... for all the lives you lovingly touch... for all the times you have been unapologetically politically incorrect...  THANK YOU!  And may God bless you on this, your birthday, and on all days!

For my dear friend: Happy Birthday!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Fourth of July!!!

This is the magical day when, each year, literally hundreds of millions of people band together... to show how independent they are of each other?

History may not be my strongest suit, but check out the wonderful Fourth of July Friday Funnies!

Thursday, July 3, 2008


A day to celebrate!

Why, you ask?

Because, as someone very wise once said, "Yesterday's history, tomorrow's a mystery, today is the PRESENT, a gift from God."

If you think about a present for a moment, these are generally gifts on special occasions.  Perhaps a birthday, or other important anniversary.  Presents tend to come with colorful paper - perhaps even a bow or a ribbon.  And we, unless only three years of age, tend to treat such a present with tenderness and respect... for no matter how much the expense, this is something to be treasured because, as the saying goes, "it's the thought that counts."

Ladies and Gentlemen, children of alllll ages... today is truly the PRESENT.  And here's a little "secret" for you: Life is lived... in the present.

So practice shutting out the skeletons of yesterday.  And don't give a voice to the anxieties of tomorrow.  Yesterday and Tomorrow do not exist.   No matter who you are, no matter how rich or powerful a person you may be, yesterday cannot be brought to life and tomorrow cannot be experienced now.  Today is the only day you can live right now.  Please don't allow today - this PRESENT- to become tainted or poisoned by the toxicity of what does not exist.

May you live today and each day in this spirit of appreciation, knowing that this day, Thursday July 3rd, 2008, will never be lived again.  And so it is with everyday...

A day to celebrate!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Summer Fun

The resident joke of Torontonians is that we really only have two seasons a year.  The first and longest is winter.  Winter lasts anywhere from 8 to 17 months.  Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration.  Winter weather may last from Novemberish to Aprilish.

Which means the only other season runs from May to October... and that season is called CONSTRUCTION.

And with construction comes traffic.  Lots of traffic.  And since road repairs are only necessary because winter is so long in the first place...  sheesh! It's pretty easy to understand why people get upset with all the traffic.

Here's the thing.  We can focus on our upset and just get plain angry.  Or we can look at the evolving situation and decide not to get upset...

Which makes more sense?

(Did I hear someone say something about Florida???)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Birthday, Canada!

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you!  Happy birthday, dear Canada, happy birthday to you!

Time to celebrate each and every little thing Canadian!

Which begs the question: What are we celebrating?  Is there a bigger celebration?

Is this day about beavers and RCMP? Large double, doubles and poutine?  Is it about the discovery of insulin or the innovation of the iced cappuccino?

D'oh!  Yes, even Bart Simpson is Canadian.  (Don't believe me? Check Wikipedia!)

See, as I look at myself, I'm half Canadian, half American, half German, and half Hungarian.  I've also got a bit of Dutch in me.  (Hence the wood shoes.)  I've eaten so much pasta and veal, I've got to have Italian citizenship by now.  In the end, I guess you could just say I am FULL OF MYSELF...  When it comes to the Olympics, whom do I cheer for?

Usually the underdog, actually.

Take a step back, though.  Truth is, it is nice to belong to a group.  It feels right. It's cozy.  There is a feeling of strength in numbers. It leads to a superficially improved self esteem by way of association.  That's what nationalism, first and foremost, is to my understanding.  And perhaps one can reasonably argue that waving your country's flag at the Olympics is not a bad thing.  The problem is that all this nationalism - this attempt to belong - is really very superficial when you think about it.  Especially today and for the last century or perhaps few centuries.

When Jesus was a kid He didn't travel very far from home.  Donkeys weren't unionized, but at the same time they sure didn't work like vehicles of today.  Until modern travel, people typically married within their city-state or village.  Individuals became parts of couples, couples were parts of families, families were parts of communities, and so on...  Geography meant something generation after generation.  Greed being what it was (and is), foreigners- that is, people different from "us"- were to be feared.  But then there were some world travellers who ventured by water...  Until finally the real explosion happened.  Horse and carriage and wind and sail were replaced by motorized transportation.  Soon the dream of air travel became a reality.  All of a sudden Sally didn't have to marry her cousin Harry, because there were lots of hairy people out there!  The gene pool of each geographic region on the planet suddenly changed, never to be the same again.

Canada, indeed much of the so-called "developed" world, is really a melting pot of so many backgrounds.

And doesn't this really highlight a central point: we are all part of the global village!  Black or white, yellow or albino, Canadian or Klingon... we are all just part of the global village.  As such, the thin line on the maps of the world, to me at least, signify very little.  

Perhaps surprisingly, what they tend to signify is something ugly.  Because it seems to me what these boundaries are really saying is: "We are us, and you people (outside our boundaries) are not. So bug off!"  That's admittedly a bit gruff.  But if you look at the state of the world, is it inaccurate?

It really is about perspective... and, as many an astronaut has commented, looking down on the world from space one can see a lot of details, like Niagara Falls, for instance, but one cannot see any lines dividing the various places that are home to all.

At the risk of being considered a rain cloud on your parade, let me say again Happy Birthday, Canada!  And here's to the ongoing building of tolerance of all people.  Here's to breaking down the fears of xenophobics everywhere!


(Wow, already 141 years old.  Geez, that Botox must really be working.  You don't look a day over 50, Canada!  Botox use for anti-aging: also Canadian!)

Monday, June 30, 2008

Goodnight, June

Geez, Louise!  Half the year gone already!  Seems like yesterday we packed away our Christmas decorations.  Yet here we are... on the verge of July.  And it got me thinkin' about June.

June Cleaver, that is.

Always perfect, wasn't she? Perfect hair.  Perfect makeup.  Perfect clothes- even a perfect apron.  

I have a theory: maybe June was a cut out doll?  

What do you think?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Happy Sunday!

Are you one of those people?

Do you develop rapid heart beats, dry mouth, and anxiety as the sun sets on Sundays?  If so, you must be suffering from a 20th Century medical condition doctors call Chronic Allergic Monday Phobia (CAMP).

CAMPers have a great deal of difficulty transitioning from the idea of having their own time to having their time structured by busy-ness.

HAPPY CAMPers are those who have recognized that life needs to be balanced; they look to work hard and play hard-- and look to spread some joy throughout each day of the week.  Hogging joy for the weekend makes for unHAPPY CAMPers.

So... let's all work to remember this, CAMPers: Sunday night is one seventh of your evenings in life!  Don't take them for granted.  Enjoy each and every one!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

For love or money? For love OF money!

The following QUESTION and ANSWER washed ashore from the Internet-- Craig's list, New York, no less.  While there are aspects of both question and answer that are ha-ha funny, I think the more serious concern I have is about the underlying message.  And, curiously, I think it points to what haunts the greater part of the developed world: we want to be happy, yes, but we have assumptions about what makes us happy (exaggerated financial resources, youth, beauty... the list goes on and on...) and we have never been able to see how illogical and poorly constructed these assumptions truly are.

My upcoming book, "The Core of Happiness: Your step-by-step, fun-to-read guide to greater happiness. Guaranteed!", due out  in the fall of 2008, points out that achieving anything -including happiness- necessitates a clear understanding of what is desired.  Specifically, the stage of defining one's personal happiness must include a thorough review of the myths - some subtle, some not-so-subtle - which are so pervasive in our society.

Keep this thought in mind, particularly as you read the following "question."

THE QUESTION:  What am I doing wrong? 

Okay, I'm tired of beating around the bush. I'm a beautiful 
(spectacularly beautiful) 25 year old girl. I'm articulate and classy. 
I'm not from New York. I'm looking to get married to a guy who makes at 
least half a million a year. I know how that sounds, but keep in mind 
that a million a year is middle class in New York City, so I don't think 
I'm overreaching at all. 

Are there any guys who make 500K or more on this board? Any wives? Could 
you send me some tips? I dated a business man who makes average around 
200 - 250. But that's where I seem to hit a roadblock. 250,000 won't get 
me to central park west. I know a woman in my yoga class who was married 
to an investment banker and lives in Tribeca, and she's not as pretty as 
I am, nor is she a great genius. So what is she doing right? How do I 
get to her level? 

Here are my questions specifically: 

- Where do you single rich men hang out? Give me specifics- bars, 
restaurants, gyms 

-What are you looking for in a mate? Be honest guys, you won't hurt my 

-Is there an age range I should be targeting (I'm 25)? 

- Why are some of the women living lavish lifestyles on the upper east 
side so plain? I've seen really 'plain jane' boring types who have 
nothing to offer married to incredibly wealthy guys. I've seen drop dead 
gorgeous girls in singles bars in the east village. What's the story 

- Jobs I should look out for? Everyone knows - lawyer, investment 
banker, doctor. How much do those guys really make? And where do they 
hang out? Where do the hedge fund guys hang out? 

- How you decide marriage vs. just a girlfriend? I am looking for 

Please hold your insults - I'm putting myself out there in an honest 
way. Most beautiful women are superficial; at least I'm being up front 
about it. I wouldn't be searching for these kind of guys if I wasn't 
able to match them - in looks, culture, sophistication, and keeping a 
nice home and hearth. 

it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial 

PostingID: 432279810

Dear Pers-431649184: 

I read your posting with great interest and have thought meaningfully 
about your dilemma. I offer the following analysis of your predicament. 
Firstly, I'm not wasting your time, I qualify as a guy who fits your 
bill; that is I make more than $500K per year. That said here's how I 
see it. 

Your offer, from the prospective of a guy like me, is plain and simple a 
crappy business deal. Here's why. Cutting through all the B.S., what you 
suggest is a simple trade: you bring your looks to the party and I bring 
my money. Fine, simple. But here's the rub, your looks will fade and my 
money will likely continue into fact, it is very likely 
that my income increases but it is an absolute certainty that you won't 
be getting any more beautiful! 

So, in economic terms you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning 
asset. Not only are you a depreciating asset, your depreciation 
accelerates! Let me explain, you're 25 now and will likely stay pretty 
hot for the next 5 years, but less so each year. Then the fade begins in 
earnest. By 35 stick a fork in you! 

So in Wall Street terms, we would call you a trading position, not a buy 
and hold...hence the rub...marriage. It doesn't make good business sense 
to "buy you" (which is what you're asking) so I'd rather lease. In case 
you think I'm being cruel, I would say the following. If my money were 
to go away, so would you, so when your beauty fades I need an out. It's 
as simple as that. So a deal that makes sense is dating, not marriage. 

Separately, I was taught early in my career about efficient markets. So, 
I wonder why a girl as "articulate, classy and spectacularly beautiful" 
as you has been unable to find your sugar daddy. I find it hard to 
believe that if you are as gorgeous as you say you are that the $500K 
hasn't found you, if not only for a tryout. 

By the way, you could always find a way to make your own money and then 
we wouldn't need to have this difficult conversation. 

With all that said, I must say you're going about it the right way. 
Classic "pump and dump." 
I hope this is helpful, and if you want to enter into some sort of 
lease, let me know.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Your Friday Funny! (Video available at the top of the blog.)

A favorite to many, Tim Conway is a master funny man.  Take a quick peek at these scenes and enjoy the giggles that follow! Here are some summaries for the video links for this edition of YOUR FRIDAY FUNNY!  (Please note-- YouTube rotates the four videos, so the summaries below may not always apply...  Also, if you move your cursor to the bottom of the pop up screen, you can access other Tim Conway videos-- ENJOY!)  As a last resort, just go to the and search for Tim Conway and Carol Burnett.


Some of the funniest moments of TV occur when Tim Conway cracks up the other stars on the long-running Carol Burnett Show.   Check out the reactions of his fellow actors as Tim describes the siamese elephants he had seen at a freak show!


Magically gifted as a physical comedian, Tim Conway struts his stuff in this hilarious snippet. Poor Harvey Korman has a tooth ache and needs some relief!   Enjoy this scene of the bumbling dentist as he attempts to provide some aid... and... oh yeah, don't forget to smile!


More physical comedy-- this time Tim uses a mechanical wheelchair to get his point across.


I spell it "E", "N", "D", because this isn't a very funny scene in my estimation.  Go back and watch the siamese elephant scene!  Or move your cursor to the bottom of the pop up screen and watch Tim Conway as a wartime interrogator- it's hilarious!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Youth is wasted on the young?

George Bernard Shaw said those immortal words: youth is wasted on the young.  To my way of thinking, however, we rarely (if ever) have things in life exactly as we would have them.

And the truth is a good number of us typically defer our own happiness by statements like: "When I finish school, then I'll be happy."  "When I get a new car..."  "When my mortgage is paid off..."   or "When I retire, then I'll be happy."

But it seems to me there is no better time to be happy than right now.

Oh, and now...

And now too!

So dare yourself to be different!  Tell yourself that nothing is ever really perfect, and that that's okay.  There is always a way to look at life in such a way as to leave yourself with a smile.  Some call that a type of mental illusion or delusion.  Personally, since my perception of reality is the perception of reality that I experience, I am going to choose to favor that aspect of reality that leaves some laughter on my uvula and a smile on my lips.

I choose to be happy by always focusing on the positives I have in my life, not on what I don't have... and certainly not on what others have (or appear to have) in their lives. 

Know someone who might want to be happier?  Ask them to consider all the good things in their life right now.  And then invite them to consider making these things the focus of their life for just the next week.

The results, I'm happy to say,  are predictable and reproducible!

Have a happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

For everything there is a season and a time

My father was a true Renaissance Man.  He could change a gas line, fix a furnace, re-wire electrical systems, build a building... all with his own hands.  He also was a university philosophy professor, an economist, a researcher, a public policy advisor and analyst; he was a think tank guru, author, speaker and general go-to guy.  My Dad was regularly meeting with government ministers, Premiers, and Prime Ministers.  He was one of a few lay people to address parliament. 

Impressive by any standard.  Yet if you were to speak with anyone whose path crossed his, above all the praise for his abilities and accomplishments, the one resounding thing you would hear is what a generous, warm individual this man was.  It mattered not if you were a CEO or the lady who empties the trash, you always received his genuine, infectious smile and an encouraging word.

Throughout my childhood I adored my Dad.  Not really for any of the above reasons, though.  I cherished his sense of humour, his ability to make me smile when I needed to smile most...  I loved being with him: it mattered not if we were at the park, playing catch in the backyard, or skipping through the parliament buildings to one of his meetings. (See, I often accompanied my Dad on his activities.  From a very young age, I remember him leaving me briefly with the Sisters at the check out desk at St. Michael's library while he scurried off to quickly get some books from the dusty stacks.  And, yes, I have fond memories of my Dad, all 6'3" of him, wearing a grey suit and carrying his briefcase, skipping with me, his youngest boy, through the halls of Parliament.)

Not that I didn't enjoy his mind!  During my adolescence, some of my fondest memories are of me sitting with Dad at the kitchen table, just talking, for hours at a time... this is something we did every evening.  He was a walking encyclopedia and a joy to be around because he loved teaching and loved learning.  The one thing, though, was that Dad insisted all us boys do our own work.  He would always be available to help, but there were no free rides in the homework department at our house!

When I was in first year at the University of Toronto I was registered in Arts and Science with my sights on Physiology.  My breadth requirement was partially going to be filled with Eng 101-- a creative writing course.  I remember the intensity of being in first year, something so very different from grade 13.  As "luck" would have it, I developed a pretty bad bronchitis and was wiped out for more than a week.  For the first time in my life my Dad took total mercy on me and completed my writing assignment, which is to say  he did the whole thing-- from start to finish.  He even submitted the paper on my behalf.  Believe it or not, I had not even read the thing!

Two weeks later, after I was back at school, I arrived home at dinner time to be greeted at the door by my eldest brother, Peter.  He reached for my shoulders and said, "Dad's dead."

My father had died in his home office of a massive heart attack while working on a paper he was to deliver at Memorial University.  He was 47.

A few weeks after the funeral I received back my first assignment from my creative writing course.  The man who had written a Ph.D. dissertation, hundreds of briefs, speeches, articles- even books- had gotten an A.  "I've never given an A to a student in first year on the first assignment!" the professor noted.  After my eye had digested the large red A on the cover, my eyes flashed up to the title and I began to slowly read:  For everything there is a season and a time...

Today, June 25th, Dad is celebrating in Heaven what would have been his 69th birthday.  Today, though I miss Dad dearly, I celebrate knowing I had a very special man as my father... and tonight I will be enjoying a slice of one of his fave's, black forest cake!

Happy Birthday, Dad!  I love you.